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Launchbury Lions omission mystifies coach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/04/2017

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young was "mystified" by lock Joe Launchbury's omission from the British and Lions squad for the tour of New Zealand.

Head coach Warren Gatland selected a 41-man squad for the 10 fixtures which include a three-Test series against the world's No.1 side.

But despite England having the largest contingent of players in the squad, Launchbury missed out.

"The one (decision) that we have got to really feel sorry about and a little bit mystified, to be honest, is how Joe Launchbury is not on that plane," Young said.

"Two man of the matches in the Six Nations, up for Player of the Six Nations as well as being nominated England Player of the Season by his team-mates, and still he doesn't get on the plane.

"As well as that, he's captain of the team sitting at the top of the Aviva Premiership at this moment in time, so it's very hard to understand how Launchers isn't on that plane and very hard to understand what more he could have done."

England's 2003 World Cup-winning boss Sir Clive Woodward stated his approval over the choice of Sam Warburton as captain, writing on Twitter: "Congrats all those selected @lionsofficial , especially @samwarburton_ , definitely correct choice and what an opportunity for all of them."

One of the surprise picks was Harlequins tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler, who has eight England caps and made a name for himself as one of Eddie Jones' 'finishers'. The 24-year-old expressed his shock with a simple tweet that said: "Wow".

Ross Moriarty revealed how he checked Twitter for updates and admitted his shock at receiving a Lions call-up.

The Gloucester and Wales flanker said: "It sounds fantastic. Obviously it's a shock to me, I only found out an hour ago, but I'm truly over the moon. It's not really sunk in yet."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said the club were proud to have six of their players selected for the summer tour.

Previous Lions tourists Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola will be joined by Jamie George, George Kruis, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.

McCall said: "We're honoured to have six of our players included in the squad. Every player included is under the age of 27 which is extremely exciting for Saracens and for England, and I'm extremely confident they'll thrive in the red jersey in New Zealand."

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